Asked by traversdotcom-deactivated201302
Hello, thank you for the question! Your wife and mother are correct, nutrition is a great subject and the classes are definitely interesting. In terms of becoming a dietitian, there are a few steps that are required to get there. Keep reading to learn more.
Step 1 is selecting a university that is accredited by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (AND). After that is decided, step 2 is to take classes for your bachelor’s degree (or master’s if you already have a degree in another area). You will need to take specific classes to satisfy a portion of the requirements to become a dietitian (I believe the required classes are classed DPD courses, but it’s been a while). You can find more information on required classes for being a dietitian either on AND’s website (below) or through the nutrition department you decide to attend. Also, the major is typically called “Human Nutrition” and generally has an emphasis in “Dietetics.” However the verbiage may vary slightly from school to school.
Once you have the necessary coursework completed, you are ready to apply for an internship. Step 3, as you may have guessed now, is complete an internship. The internship is required as part of the process to being a dietitian and typically takes between 6 or 9 months or they may be upwards to a year in length. Once the internship is completed, you may take the credentialing exam to officially be called a registered dietitian or RD. Therefore, step 4 would be to take and pass the RD exam! Once you have gone through these necessary steps to become a dietitian, you are home free to have the career of your dreams! Many, many different career choices are out there… but that would make this post extremely long if I went into it now. You should be able to find some information on different career paths within dietetics at AND’s website- www.eatright.org. Click the tab labeled “Become an RD/DTR” for more information on the education process and steps to become a dietitian!
A few things to keep in mind:
-Not all schools have a nutrition program that is accredited to then allow you to do the internship. You should be able to find a list of schools that offer nutrition through AND’s website (as posted above).
-The internship acceptance rate is about 50% each year. However, I believe this rate is better than other professions, think veterinary school.
-The profession is slightly competitive to get into because of the acceptance rates, therefore grades are important. Some internships require a minimum of a 3.0 overall GPA and in DPD course. While others have even higher standards.
-Work experience is a big factor in the internship application process. Either within the profession or transferrable skills, it depends on where you want to do your internship.
No you do not need to know how to cook! You will take a couple classes based on the principles of foods (e.g. lethicin in eggs is used as an emulsifying agent to mix two liquids that typically would not stay in solution with one another, such as water and oil).
It is a major that has a lot of background need for science or “numbers” (heavy course work in chemistry, biology and some physiology). Eventually you will need to take the knowledge from classes and apply it to everyday life. For example, you learn that folate is an important nutrient for women of childbearing age to prevent neural tube defects in the event they become pregnant. In classes you will learn why this happens and that folate is needed to prevent neural tube defects from happening. Once you get out into the profession, you need to be able to tell people what they need to EAT in order to get the folate they need. It is not enough to say “eat more folate.” It is far more beneficial to tell people to eat more leafy greens to get folate. Or to tell them to eat grain products that contain enriched flour, as folate has been added specifically to reduce incidence of neural tube defects.
One more thought: you want to become a dietitian!! A nutritionist is a term that is not regulated, see my previous post on Tumblr, or you can learn more about it on AND’s website. <http://www.eatright.org/Public/content.aspx?id=6442472311&terms=nutritionist#.UJbM72ifOfR>
Best of luck! Let me know if you have any more questions. I look forward to hearing about your experience in nutrition classes as well!
Also, if you need some help with the blood pressure let me know.
Asked by Anonymous
Hey there, thanks for the question!
I would say the fact you already know what you want to do puts you a head of the pack. When I was in high school, I didn’t even know nutrition could be a major! LOL
If you have fairly strong math skills and enjoy the human body, you are definitely on the right track. Even though you didn’t take chem this year, it’s fine. Make sure you take it as quickly as possible once out of high school then (or see if you can get in later this year?) As a nutrition major, there are quite a few chemistry classes you will have to conquer. You want to make sure as early as possible that you really want to do nutrition, and the chemistry will really make ore break the major for some people. I didn’t get an A in high school chemistry, but I did know that I enjoyed it!
On another note, I would like to clarify what the career path would be for you would be looking into. In order to be a nutrition professional, you would actually strive to become a DIETITIAN. A dietitian essentially is someone who has gone to school and gotten their bachelors degree in nutrition and dietetics. However, it doesn’t stop there. Once you finish your bachelors degree, you would apply for an internship to get practical experience. An internship can be anywhere from 6 months to a year, depending on where you go. Once you complete the internship, you are eligible to take an exam to earn the title of registered dietitian. A registered dietitian is a title only for people who have gotten their bachelors degree (or higher) in nutrition, completed their internship and passed the exam. This means the title is regulated. A lot like a registered nurse. Anyone can say they help people with certain tasks as if they are nursing a person, but you can only be called a registered nurse or RN once you completed the necessary steps (similar to becoming a dietitian). Who do you want to take care of family members, someone who calls themselves a nurse, or someone who has gone to school and earned the title of RN? I would say I want the RN… I know they know what they are doing, otherwise they wouldn’t have those letters behind their name! Think of that as you think of the word dietitian. To clarify the term nutritionist, well, it really doesn’t have much regulation. In some states there are guidelines that someone must meet to have the title, but in states such as California (which is where I live), there are no regulations for someone who wants to be a nutritionist. Anyone can! For example, someone who is interested in nutrition but never taken ANY classes ever can call themselves a nutritionist. Beware when seeking nutrition information web someone says they are a nutritionist. However, the downfall to the term nutritionist is that some registered dietitians call themselves nutritionists because most people have no idea what a dietitian is! So, it gets confusing… Good times. What I am trying to say though is you want to become a registered dietitian or RD. Dietitians are the nutrition professionals in the hospital, just like the registered nurse, so you know they are the ones who know what they are talking about. I hope all of that makes sense! If you need more clarification, let me know.
Anyway, if you want to find out what universities offer nutrition and dietetics as a major, visit the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics’ website- www.eatright.org and click on the students tab. You can find schools that offer the major, learn more about becoming a dietitian, and types of career opportunities (seemingly an endless list)!
I should add that I absolutely love my career and would recommend it to anyone who loves food and the body! I currently work in a hospital, but I am also going to start teaching nutrition classes at the local community college. Should be a fun venture!
I wish you lots of luck in your endeavor. I look forward to hearing from you some again. Best wishes,
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